Laminating Pre-Fire Plans Curbs Dog-Eared Problem

Laminating Pre-Fire Plans Curbs Dog-Eared Problem

How do you prevent pre-fire plans, map books and other paper forms from becoming dog-eared and torn through frequent use?

In Redmond, Wash., Ronald Haworth, director of fire and EMS, found that his paperwork problems were multiplying because maps, fire plans and other forms used in the field had to be constantly replaced.

“We had a real problem keeping the items used in the field dry,” says Haworth. “In addition to the water you normally find around a fire, this part of the country gets more than its fair share of rain.”

Haworth solved the problem by getting a small, portable laminating machine that seals paper between two sheets of polyester, each three-thousandths of an inch thick. The heatsealed plastic pouch is moisture-proof, yet much thinner and more durable than the acetate sheets Haworth previously used to protect maps.

Map book improved

“The map book was getting so thick it was unmanageable,” said Haworth. “We’re the fastest-growing city in the State of Washington, so we were constantly adding new maps. Each map was sandwiched between a thick piece of acetate and a black paper backing sheet. With the laminating machine just put two maps back to back, stick them between a couple of sheets of thin plastic, and seal them together. The map book’s much thinner than before.”

The solution to his paper protection problem came to Haworth by accident. The laminating machine he uses is the Card/Guard Laminator from JacksonHirsh, Inc., of Northbrook, Ill. As the name implies, the machine had been originally promoted by the manufacturer for laminating ID cards, membership cards., social security cards, luggage tags and the like. Haworth is president of the Washington State Association of Fire Chiefs, and he acquired the machine to laminate membership cards.

In addition to protecting maps, prefire plans and disaster plan cards, Haworth is now laminating equipment checklists that are kept inside a door of each fire apparatus. He also does the work schedules handed to each employee.

“The work schedule is usually good for nine months,” Haworth explained, “but the individual checks it daily, so without protection it becomes dog-eared after about a month.”

The city building department comes to Haworth to get occupancy certificates Iminated, and he also does achievement certificates.

“When a certificate is sealed in plastic, it looks more permanent,” he explained. “You can mount it on the wall without framing it, or if you want to frame it, you don’t need a sheet of glass over it.”

His next project is to laminate fire report forms that can be filled out with a grease pencil on the foreground and then wiped clean for reuse after the information has been transferred to forms at the station.

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